SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The Navarino Orchard outside of Syracuse is known for its dwarf apple trees. It is a pick your own orchard where the smaller trees put the majority of the apples in reach for the patrons.
A dwarf apple tree is pretty much what one would expect from the name. A smaller apple tree.
A standard apple tree grows to be around 20-30 feet. It towers over a dwarf tree. A regular dwarf apple tree will grow to be around eight to ten feet. A semi-dwarf grows to about 12-15 feet.
A main reason for the farming of dwarf apple trees according to Vinny Sicignano is convenience.
“With these big old apple trees you need a ten or twelve foot ladder. With the dwarf ones, you just don’t,” said Sicignano.
“Easier access to better apples for the pick your own.”
The process of growing dwarf trees is not as simple as buyings seeds and planting them. The majority of dwarf trees are not dwarfs trees due to naturally small genetics. It’s a man power process. Buds from full-sized trees are propagated into dwarfing rootstock.
This alteration to the buds of full-sized tree generally creates a tree that will grow to be twenty-five percent of the original tree.
So, the dwarf tree takes up just seventy-five percent of the space, but produces almost two-hundred of the product.
Per acre of trees, with dwarf apple trees you can can upwards of one thousand bushels of apples. With a semi-dwarf apple tree you can get anywhere from six-hundred to seven-hundred bushels.
“From the regular trees you get about five-hundred bushels,” said Sicignano.
Another advantage is that dwarf apple trees tend to produce apples one to three years earlier than a regular sized tree.
There is however one major downside to the dwarf trees and and that is the cost. With the grafting process being as timely and pricey as it is, the purchasing of buds for dwarf trees can get expensive. Especially when planted for an orchard.